The history of The George Gund Foundation reflects a deep commitment to place, to the Greater Cleveland community that was the home of its founder and that remains the Foundation’s home. The Foundation’s philanthropic stewardship of this region derives not just from our history, but also from our belief that Cleveland can continue to develop original responses to urban issues and from our hope that collaborations across boundaries can create a crucible of innovation in all fields of endeavor. Moreover, the urban emphasis of our work stems from a belief that thriving cities are one of the nation’s best hopes for addressing our essential problems. This focus is especially vital in an era of diminished government involvement in urban issues, intensifying globalization and heightened awareness of the central role of regions.
The Foundation’s guidelines reflect our long-standing interests in the arts, economic development and community revitalization, education, environment and human services because these areas embrace most of the major issues that any community must address. While we continue to organize much of our work within these program areas, there is increasing awareness that many issues and, therefore, many grant proposals do not fit neatly into one program category. Indeed, the work of a growing number of nonprofit organizations brings together aspects of several of our core interests, and, as a result, we are becoming ever more interdisciplinary in our approach.
This is particularly evident with initiatives that aim to make Cleveland, and urban areas generally, more globally competitive, livable, sustainable and just. It is in this domain that the greatest need and maximum opportunity converge with the Foundation’s primary interests, expertise and ongoing stewardship. We especially seek to support innovative ideas being pursued by creative and entrepreneurial organizations.
Our primarily urban focus motivates us to devote attention and resources to the illumination of policies that shape the issues we care about. National, state and local policymaking affects all of the Foundation’s work and the work of the organizations we fund. Consequently, we feel a special obligation to support the nonpartisan voice of nonprofit advocacy in policy deliberations that directly relate to our program interests.
Global climate change is an urgent issue that cuts across all of the Foundation’s programs. Every organization and individual can help to address this problem. The Foundation takes seriously our own responsibility and we want to hear from grant applicants what they are doing or considering to reduce or to eliminate their organizational impact on climate change. Our web site includes links to helpful resources, and Foundation staff will assist grant seekers — both new and those of long standing — in all of our program areas with questions they may have.
What are the Foundation’s funding priorities?
The George Gund Foundation’s five program areas are: